Hellforge rushing is perhaps the safest way of getting mid-high runes in 1.10 and 1.11, since it doesn’t depend as much on your luck as other methods, such as running the Countess or Lower Kurast. Basically, your goal is getting a character to Act 4 Hell, so you can complete the Hellforge quest in 1.10/1.11 and get the runes it drops. For each character you rush successfully, you’ll get a rune from Sol to Um off the Nightmare quest, and from Hel to Gul off the Hell quest.
The easiest way of getting a character to Act 4 Hell to get the quest reward is by rushing him, completing only the quests needed to advance acts with the help of a stronger character. Rushing was easier in 1.09, so I suggest you to rush your characters in that version, and convert them to 1.10/1.11 to complete the quests there, to save time.
First of all, you’re going to need to be able to run several instances of d2 in one computer, or several computers. There are different methods to run several d2 instances, from fast user switching to modified dll files, so use the one you prefer. I suggest using two computers, one dedicated to the characters being rushed (with which you’ll host games, so you’ll want to have your computer with better specs here), and the other for the character who will do the rush. Of course, you also need to be able to host TCP/IP games for the characters to get together in the same game, but I think that goes without saying.
When that first step is solved, you’re going to need a strong rushing character in 1.09, so the rushes are made quickly. I suggest a Sorceress build, since having Teleport makes things much easier on you. I do my rushes in Classic 1.09 with a Sorceress, since Static Field has no caps in Classic you can be very successful with a Frozen Orb build supported by Thunderstorm (Duriel is Cold Inmune in Nightmare and Hell, and Cold Mastery won’t break inmunities), and you’ll have spare points to boost Static Field and even Teleport a bit (for the range and mana cost, respectively). I’ve been doing rushes with my Sorceress consistently from level 55 or so, with modest equipment, so it doesn’t take very long getting started. If you prefer doing your rushes in LoD, you probably won’t have any trouble finding a good Sorceress build in the Strategy Compendium, just keep in mind that you’ll have to do Act 5 too in your rushes.
The quests you have to complete in order to reach Act 4 Hell (assuming you are playing Classic 1.09) are:
– Andariel (Normal/Nightmare/Hell): when killing Andariel, one of the rushed characters has to be in the Catacombs level 4 for it to count.
– Horadric Staff (Normal): make sure you pick up three Horadric Staves in Normal, so you don’t have to look for the pieces again in Nightmare and Hell. To keep the Horadric Staff in one character, you just have to unparty when another character uses it to open Tal Rasha’s Tomb (unpartying the character opening the tomb is easier in most of the cases, they just can’t be in the same party when the tomb is being opened if you want to keep it). I suggest having the rushing character equipped with an Horadric Cube, and lending it to the rused characters to make the staves each time.
– Duriel (Normal/Nightmare/Hell): none of the rushed characters have to be down in Tal Rasha’s Tomb when killing Duriel, since speaking to Tyrael will allow them to complete the quest anyways. Make sure you don’t speak to Tyrael with the rushing character, or you’ll have to create a new game and kill Duriel again.
– Mephisto (Normal/Nightmare/Hell): one of the rushed characters has to be in the Durance of Hate level 3 for it to count, when Mephisto dies.
– Diablo (Normal/Nightmare): one of the rushed characters has to be in the Chaos Sanctuary when Diablo dies for the quest to count. Be careful, because it won’t count if Diablo dies too far away from the rushed character! You don’t need to complete this quest in Hell, remember that.
Time-saving tips and general advice
– If the character hosting the game has the Horadric Staff, once you get to Act 2 you can speak to Drognan for him to allow you into the palace. By doing that, you can speak to Jerhyn, go to the Harem level 1, and make a town portal, appearing near Meshif and saving you a long walk. I suggest moving all the characters near the palace as soon as you reach Act 2, besides the one that will open Tal Rasha’s Tomb in that difficulty (or the three that will get an Horadric Staff, if it’s Normal), those should be moved to where the Town Portals are opened.
– The Council Members in Act 3 won’t use Hydras if they’re not damaged, so if you’re careful not to hit them, you can open the town portal for the rushed characters in the platform near the portal to Act 4, without risking their deaths and getting delayed by having to kill them.
– Still, if a rushed character happens to die in the middle of completing a quest, don’t press escape, and the quest will still be counted as completed when the Act boss dies.
– You don’t need to complete the Summoner’s quest in order to find out which is the true Tomb of Tal Rasha, you just have to teleport there and notice which of the seven symbols is missing (there will be just six of them floating in the platform where the Summoner is), and that one will mark the true tomb.
– Remember which character are you hosting the game with! If you exit the game with this character, all other characters will exit too, which could be useful (after Diablo is dead, exiting with the hosting character will make all other characters go to the â€˜congratulations’ screen), or downright horrible (exiting with him after he’s in Act 4 Hell, when there are still characters left in Act 3, will make you have to create a new game and kill Mephisto all over again), so keep that in mind.
– If you use the suggested setup with two computers, you should try getting a second person to help you. If one person manages the characters being rushed, while another person manages the rushing character, the whole process is sped up significantly.
– If you’re using a Sorceress to do the rushing, you might have trouble with Duriel. The tactic I’ve found to work best against him is to walk backwards right after you enter his chamber, until you have your back against the wall. That way, he won’t be able to use his Charge against you (besides the opening Charge he always does), and all of a sudden he becomes much less dangerous, you’ll be able to tank him with some block and a moderate amount of life by just using healing potions.
– If your Sorceress isn’t strong enough to make the rush in Hell by herself, you might want to consider building a Barbarian. You only need a half-decent weapon and Whirlwind (remember Whirlwind doesn’t take into account weapon IAS in Classic 1.09, I’d suggest imbuing a few Lances until you get a nice one), and you’ll have a good enough character to get you through Hell. Remember that you need to be at least in Act 3 Hell for the classic characters you convert to 1.10/1.11 expansion to be awarded the Champion title, or you’ll have to complete Act 5 Nightmare (and thus the ancients, needing a level 40 character, which defeats the purpose of rushing them). This won’t be the case if you rush them in 1.09 expansion, but you’ll need to complete the Baal quest both in Nightmare and Hell, which will slow you down.
– When rushing several characters at once, it’s important to disable all the visual enhancements, so your computer still runs smoothly. I also suggest playing in windowed mode (adding â€“w to the command line in the shortcut), without sound (adding â€“ns) and using the 640×480 resolution. When running multiple instances of D2 in one computer, you have to keep in mind that you’ll need a fair amount of RAM (at least 512 mb) for it to work nicely without crashing often.
– By rushing the characters in 1.09, you can also transfer them to the 1.10 beta if you’re after one of the beta runewords, such as Bramble or CtA. Just remember not to complete their Hell quests in 1.09, since it could only drop up to Um, if I’m not mistaken. From my experience, you should expect rushes to take about an hour and a half to two hours, doing them in Classic, and about a Gul-Vex rune of profit for every rush (seven characters, in my case).
Well, I think that’s all I can think about Hellforge rushing right now, I hope it was useful to you. Comments and things I might have overlooked are most welcome, so don’t be shy to post! Thanks for taking the time to read through the guide, best of luck with your Hellforge rushing